The Immigrant vs. American Business Model: Passion vs. Family – By John LaRosa

The Immigrant vs. American Business Model: Passion vs. Family – By John LaRosa

Sept. 17, 2018 —

Here in America, we take great pride in being rugged individualists and entrepreneurs. We are told that if we follow our passion and do the thing we love, that money will follow and we’ll be successful. Well, yeah, sometimes.

On the other hand, there is another business model used by many immigrants to the U.S. This is the “family” model. And, it’s just as effective, if not more so. How many times have you noticed a local Chinese restaurant, or Korean nail salon, or Greek diner, or Italian pizza parlor, or Spanish office cleaning service, or Jewish diamond dealer, where the whole family seems to be working in that business? And, you might notice that after a few years, the owners are riding around in a new Mercedes, or just bought a nice house. What’s their “trick”?

There is no trick. The simple fact is that recent immigrants are much more inclined to work real hard, have the whole family contribute to making the business successful, forgo eating out, work 7 days a week, skip vacations and nice cars, doing whatever it takes, until the business is established and becomes successful. And, most of these businesses probably have a lower failure rate. Many Americans simply will not do that. We want to “follow our passion”, individually, and make it on our own. We want immediate gratification. Work with family? Are you kidding? I can’t even stand to live with them!

In the American family, one person becomes a lawyer, another an accountant, another a teacher, another an engineer. Each makes $50,000 to $200,000 a year. Typical. But, what if together they formed a new company that utilized all these skills to create a new product that made a manufacturing process more efficient, and built it into a $10 million/year business?  Now, the whole is worth more than the sum of its parts. Each person still does what they like to do (the passion), but they complement each other and create something larger than themselves, and get richer in the process.

Yes, I know, there are exceptions and there are some American families that work in a business together, but I think this is more the exception rather than the rule. I often wonder how many more dynamite companies could be formed if more relatives, each with their own set of unique skills and strengths, got together and worked toward a common goal, rather than take on the world as individuals.

Something to think about.

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